Friday, December 29, 2006

Abandon ship!

As some of you may know, in my absence I spent a week stowed away aboard a cruise ship. I won't talk much about my shipboard experience, except to say that it is a great way to take a vacation if you're a paying customer, even if you have kids, because they have this place where you can drop the kids off in the morning and not have to retrieve them until the evening. They also have a lot of food, all the time.

However, what I would like to talk about is the lifeboat drill. Every cruise starts with one. They begin by making a hideous sound on the PA system, signaling the start of the drill. If this were a real emergency, this would be a few minutes after hitting the iceberg. You then proceed to your cabin, where you put on a life vest that looks like a really puffy orange toilet seat cover. It has a blinking light and a little plastic whistle, in case you feel like belting out show-tunes while waiting for your rescue craft. After that, you go to your "muster station", which is the boat word for "meeting place".

Once there, they line you up like cattle, make you sit around for a while, and then inform you of what would happen in a real emergency. Had the boat actually been sinking, they tell you, we would, "load the life boats, giving priority to women and children." Are you serious? To this day, they still maintain the women and children first policy? I can understand letting the children get on first with both their parents, but where did the feminist movement go? Why are they not demanding equal rights in this area? Do they realize that this policy was created at a time when the prevalent feeling was, "we had better let the women go first, because they are too weak to fend for themselves"!? I don't know about you, but I was quite offended at the insinuation. Although for some reason, my girlfriend didn't seem to have a problem with being given lifeboat priority. Sometimes I just can't understand women.